Early strikes send Railway out of cup

Harrogate Railway were eliminated from the FA Cup on Tuesday night as Spennymoor Town ran out 2-0 winners in a preliminary round replay.

The two sides were facing each other for a third time in two weeks after drawing 1-1 in the league at Brewery Field and 0-0 at Station View on Saturday to force a replay.

First-half goals from Shane Henry and Nathan Fisher mean Spennymoor go on to face NPL Premier Division outfit Blyth Spartans in the next round.

Lee Ashforth made one change from Saturday’s draw; replacing Stephen Bromley with Vincent Dhesi in attack, while Spennymoor brought in Scott Kerr for Lewis Dodds.

The Railway boss will have been disappointed to see his game plan go out the window just two minutes into the contest, however, when Henry rose highest from a corner and headed the hosts into an early lead.

Jason Ainsley’s Spennymoor had a chance to double their lead just two minutes later when Andrew Stephenson whipped in a cross behind the Railway defence, and out of Tom Goodwin’s reach, but Liam Henderson headed over.

Railway gradually settled into the contest and had a few sights of goal themselves, first when Ryan Sharrocks muscled in on Jordan Outerbridge’s cross, but couldn’t get enough direction on the header, then when a neat passing move ended with Jack Stockdill’s attempt being blocked.

It was Spennymoor who got the second goal of the game, as Fisher was played in down the right side of Railway’s defence and flashed a shot low and hard into the bottom left corner.

Railway almost grabbed an equaliser when Dan Thirkell snatched possession in an advanced midfield position and offloaded to Dhesi who ran at the Spennymoor defence before shooting into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Tom Goodwin was then needed to make a save at the other end, getting down well to his left to deny Henderson who had breached the Railway backline.

At the start of the second half, Spennymoor came close to grabbing a goal, when a break down the right hand side ended with the ball bouncing back off the inside of Railway’s post.

Railway went right up the other end and crafted an opening for themselves, however, when Outerbridge held the ball up well and teed up second half substitute Bromley to narrowly shoot over.

Spennymoor goalkeeper Daniel Lowson then had to make a terrific save to deny Railway pulling a goal back in the 63rd minute.

Sharrocks had rolled a pass across the edge of the box after a penetrative run at the Spennymoor left-back, and when Thirkell got a shot away he had looked to have found the top left corner, only for Lowson to stretch out a hand and claw the ball away.

It was then the turn of Goodwin to make a fantastic save as the 20-year-old tipped Henderson’s long range effort onto the bar at full stretch.

The visitors battled to the very end with Alex Low showing great alertness to further frustrate Henderson and clear the striker’s stoppage time header off the line but the home side held form for the victory.

Harrogate Railway: Goodwin, Parkes (Brown 68), Hunter, Low, Thirkell, Pells, Sharrocks, Stockdill, Dhesi (Ibrahimi 68), Clamp (Bromley 45), Outerbridge. Subs not used: Kidd, Wood. Referee: T Peart. Attendance: 388.